History by the River is new a monthly panel event with a social buzz for lovers of books, history and good beer. It’s a chance to get together with fellow readers and authors to hear about the best new historical writing, then discuss it all over a drink afterwards.
NB: you can’t actually see Tower Bridge from the pub, but Hammersmith Bridge is pretty too.
Tuesday 18 July 2017
13 Lower Mall,
Hammersmith, W6 9DJ
Featuring Alison Weir, Emma Henderson and Andrew Martin and chaired by Elizabeth Fremantle.
Alison is the biggest-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian) in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She has published twenty-three titles and sold more than 2.7 million books – over a million in the UK and more than 1.7 million in the USA. Her books include Britain’s Royal Families, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Children of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary, Queen of Scots and Isabella: She-Wolf of France. Alison Weir lives and works in Surrey.
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession
The second captivating novel in the Six Tudor Queens series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Essential reading for fans of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick.
The young woman who changed the course of history. Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love. But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game. Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown – and the crown is what she seeks. At any price.
Anne Boleyn. The second of Henry’s Queens. Her story. History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.
Emma Henderson’s first novel, Grace Williams Says It Loud (Sceptre, 2010), won the McKitterick Prize and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Wellcome Book Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, as well as being runner-up for the Mind Book of the Year.
Emma Henderson went to school in London and studied at Somerville College, Oxford and Yale University. She worked at Penguin as a copywriter for two years, then spent a decade teaching English in comprehensive schools and further education colleges before moving to the French Alps where, for six years, she ran a ski and snowboard lodge. She now lives in Derbyshire and is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Keele University.
The Valentine House
In June 1914, Sir Anthony Valentine, a keen mountaineer, arrives with his family to spend the summer in their chalet, high in the French Alps. There, for the first time, fourteen-year-old foundling Mathilde starts work as one of the ‘uglies’ – village girls employed as servants and picked, it is believed, to ensure they don’t catch Sir Anthony’s roving eye.
For Mathilde it is the start of a life-long entanglement with les anglais – strange, exciting people, far removed from the hard grind of farming. Except she soon finds the Valentines are less carefree than they appear, with a curiously absent daughter no one talks about. It will be decades – disrupted by war, accidents and a cruel betrayal – before Mathilde discovers the key to the mystery. And in 1976, the year Sir Anthony’s great-great grandson comes to visit, she must decide whether to use it.
Vividly evoking the dramatic landscape that so enthrals the Valentines, this deeply involving, intriguing novel tells the story of an English family through the generations and a memorable French woman, whose lives seem worlds apart yet which become inextricably connected.
Martin went to school in York, and to university at Oxford. After qualifying as a barrister, he won The Spectator Young Writer of the Year Award for 1988, which deflected him into a writing career. His first novel, Bilton, satirised the kind of lifestyle journalism that Martin often found himself writing. It was followed by The Bobby Dazzlers, a crime novel set in York. In 2001 came The Necropolis Railway, the first of Martin’s historical thrillers featuring the Edwardian railwayman, Jim Stringer. There have so far been nine Stringer novels; the latest is Night Train to Jamalpur. The books have received several Crime Writers’ Association shortlistings, and The Somme Stations won the CWA Ellis Peters award for Historical Fiction in 2011.
In August, an artist is found murdered in his home – stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey’s death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade – for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist’s last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found?
Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor’s prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life.
And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge begins his search across the snow-covered city, and enters a world of shadows…
Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen’s Gambit, Sisters of Treason and Watch the Lady. Her latest novel The Girl in the Glass Tower was a Times Book of the Year 2016. She holds a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck College, London and has contributed to various publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, the Financial Times and the Sunday Times; she also reviews fiction for the Sunday Express. She lives in London and Norfolk.
The Girl in the Glass Tower
Tap. Tap. Tap on the window.
Something, someone wanting to be heard. Waiting to be free.
Tudor England. The word treason is on everyone’s lips. Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I, has spent her youth behind the towering windows of Hardwick Hall. Her isolation should mean protection – but those close to the crown are never safe.
Aemilia Lanyer – writer and poetess – enjoys an independence denied to Arbella. Their paths should never cross. But when Arbella enlists Aemilia’s help in a bid for freedom, she risks more than her own future. Ensnared in another woman’s desperate schemes , Aemilia must tread carefully or share her terrible fate…
The Girl in the Glass Tower brilliantly explores what it means to be born a woman in a man’s world, where destiny is strictly controlled and the smallest choices may save – or destroy – us.